Four players for Tulsa played 40 minutes or more, including Larry Owens who played all 48. It helps that the 66ers don't play another game for a week, but they also all played pretty well.
Owens doesn't get a lot of pub around here; he hasn't always been consistent this year, but at his best he's a very efficient scorer who can help out in other areas too. He had 37 points on 21 shots, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Might be his best game of the season so far.
Mustafa Shakur also had seven boards and seven assists, along with 28 points on 15 shots; Deron Washington had 19 points and nine rebounds; Moses Ehambe had 22 points off the bench. With all the talent Maine has, it's hard to beat a team with guys playing that well.
Speaking of Maine's talent, Morris Almond made his Red Claws debut, and it was...pretty good. He didn't get to the free throw line as often as he usually does, but he still had 20 points and eight rebounds.
Billy Thomas had his best shooting game since the beginning of January, hitting three of four threes and finishing with 11 points on total six shots.
Trey Gilder had five assists in this game. He's been doing more of that recently, and I like it (he also had 17 points and six boards).
Lengthier thoughts on LA-Austin after the jump.
Los Angeles D-Fenders 111, Austin Toros 107 (Box Score)
I feel like I've been slacking on my Toros reportage; they've been out of town for long stretches the last few months, and I haven't gotten many chances to see them, but I watched this game so I'll give a few more player notes than I might otherwise.
This game wasn't really close until the last few minutes. Austin couldn't hit anything in the first half, and they really missed Malik Hairston, who apparently has gone back to the Spurs.
Curtis Jerrells had just four assists in 44 minutes. He can score pretty well, but if he's going to develop into an NBA point guard, he needs to do a better job distributing the ball. It didn't help that his teammates missed a lot of shots, but it wasn't all on them, either.
Case in point: Dwayne Jones. Jones finished with 13 points (and 18 rebounds), but nine of those points came in the first half, and it seemed like Alonzo Gee was looking for Jones more than Jerrells was.
And speaking of Gee, he had a horrible first half, and had some occasional defensive problems but he was able to get into the paint pretty much whenever he wanted throughout the game.
Squeaky Johnson needs to drive to the basket more. He mostly takes three-pointers (and even then he never takes more than a few per game), but the few times I saw him drive in this game he stopped in the midrange area for no reason, and either threw up a floater that bricked or had to pass the ball after picking up his dribble. Keep going!
Austin's bench is rough. Eddie Basden finished with 20 points, but that's after finally getting hot from long-range (he was 4-6 on threes); he didn't do much in the first half other than turn the ball over a few times. David McClure has bad hands and no offense. I like Justin Bowen, but in a way that doesn't match his production at all (which is sporadic at best). I'm sure the bench production will pick up whenever Luke Bonner arrives.
Now onto LA, who actually won the game. They finally dropped the three guard lineup and started Ryan Forehan-Kelly (who arguably is a guard, but I consider him to be a small forward). Surprise! He played very well. He also sat for a long time in the second half for some reason, but still managed to have a team-high 22 points and had a key block with two-tenths of a second left in the game.
Frank Robinson also looked pretty good, both on the offensive end and in guarding both Jerrells and Gee. Actually, he almost had a triple-double (21 points, eight boards, seven assists), which is somewhat surprising because I don't remember him getting that many rebounds. I'm guessing a lot of them came off of missed Austin free throws.
Dar Tucker was featured in several of the Futurecast ads. He also was a DNP. [Annoyed grunt]
Oh hey, some reffing weirdness. Austin had a 23 free-throw advantage in this game and that disparity came entirely in the first half. Austin didn't take advantage, though. There also was a moment in the second quarter where LA got called for a 24 second violation, then the refs said that a shot had hit the rim and so the D-Fenders got the ball with 21 seconds on the shot clock, and THEN the refs decided to make it a jump ball instead. Not the best showing in front of Ed Rush, the director of officiating.
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